2008 Vocal pieces

Elogium Musicum

amatissimi amici nunc remoti

for large mixed chorus (SATB) and orchestra
Latin text by Franco Serpa
Commissioned by Gewandhaus zu Leipzig

Period of composition 2007/08
Duration ca. 25 minutes

for Riccardo Chailly, the MDR Rundfunkchor and the Gewandhausorchester of Leipzig

World premiere

World premiere October 2nd, 2008

Leipzig Gewandhaus Großer Saal

MDR Rundfunkchor
Conductor Riccardo Chailly


This „eulogy“ is by way of an obituary filled with memories and mementos, of sadness, loss and sorrow. A friendship that lasted for almost half a century is destroyed, dead and will not come again. But it lives on in thoughts and affectionate feelings. In this unfamiliar and empty world in which I find myself, it is not easy, nor perhaps possible, to cope, even undesirable to do so. Yet my thoughts and feelings constantly return to a relationship that was unique.

In the four movements of this song of praise, to poems by Franco Serpa, in which human voices blend with instrumental sonorities, the one maintaining the movement of the other, spectral and many-formed images of people and occasions arise, from near and far, from the broad spectrum of mankind as well as the mysterious realm of the animal kingdom.

The sun casts its light all around, illuminating everything: the joys of conversation, the love of life, the wonders of nature; in all, the beauties and terrors of the world.

Hans Werner Henze


4 Flutes2° and 3° doubling Piccolo
4° doubling Alto Flute
4 Clarinets4° doubling Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 
4 Oboes
3° doubling Cor Anglais
4° doubling Heckelphone
3 Bassoons
1 Contrabassoon
4 TrompetS4° doubling Bass Trumpet
4 Horns
1 Wagner Tuba
3 Trombones1° Alt, 2° Tenor, 3° Bass
1 Tuba
Timpani(4 players)
2 Sistra
Suspended Cymbal (large)
IISnare Drum
3 Tom-toms
IIIBass Drum
2 Suspended Cymbals (medium, large)
China Gong (small)
3 Gongs
Suspended Cymbal (small)
3 Bongos
Large Mixed Chorus